The journalism competition attracted more than 800 entries from magazines across the country.
Judges noted: "The city of Memphis has much to be proud of: It's the birthplace of rock-and-roll, the home of the blues, and one of the best places in America to eat barbecue. You can add to that list of accomplishments Memphis magazine, a publication that covers the city's personalities, politics, and culture with style and authority. Memphis is not afraid to tackle tough subjects: The April 2008 special issue commemorating the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination is a case in point. But there's plenty of fun in the magazine, too. In the column 'Ask Vance,' the magazine's resident trivia expert answers readers’ questions about Memphis history. The yearly 'Hot List' puts a new spin on the classic 'Best of the City' article. And knowledgeable coverage of the local music scene provides insight into the city's unique cultural life in a way only the best city magazines can achieve."
The magazine was also named a finalist in two other categories: "Best Cover" for the April 2008 special tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, and "Best Blog" for the "Ask Vance" history/trivia column by Vance Lauderdale (aka Senior Editor Michael Finger). Judges called the April cover "powerful and yet intimate" and observed, "Memphis is owning the tragic assassination that occurred in the city 40 years ago and offering an unflinching eye on the legacy of the dream."
Regarding "Ask Vance," they said, "The writer digs up tales from the history of Memphis -- dusty, tragic, but oddly compelling -- and relates them in a simple, straightforward style that seems to suit sepia-toned memories. You get the feeling this guy spends a lot of time hanging around graveyards."
Judges included editors and writers from The New York Times, Southern Living, Men's Journal, Gourmet, ESPN The Magazine, Esquire, The Atlantic, Glamour, and Sports Illustrated, along with professors from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.